It was a Pakistan Day at RPS

By M. Salimullah*
On March 16, 2011 the Pakistan High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Mrs. Seema Elahi Baloch hosted a dinner in honour of Pakistan Cricket team with the co-operation of Khalil Masood, Executive Chairman SKM Lanka Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, and a subsidiary of Arif Habib Group of Pakistan. The idea to welcome the Pakistan cricket team was created by the High Commissioner of Pakistan and Masood wanted to encourage their national cricket team in Sri Lanka for the ICC World Cup 2011.

The dinner was hosted at Cinnamon Grand Hotel which was beautifully decorated. It was attended by Mohan De Silva, former president Sri Lanka Cricket, Nuski Mohammad, former secretary and treasurer, Sri Lanka Cricket, Aravinda de Silva, chairman Sri Lanka Cricket selection committee, Ashley de Silva, Director Operations Sri Lanka Cricket, Diplomats, top high government officials, businessmen, cricket lovers, electronic and print media of Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

The invitation to the Indian High Commissioner for dinner by his counterpart and his presence proved that Pakistan is a peace loving country and thanks to the Indian High Commissioner for honoring Shoaib Akhtar and other Pakistani cricketers to take photographs with him. Such kind of actions not only helps to promote relations with both the countries but also leaves a good impression in the diplomatic community.
It was a successful effort made by the Pakistan High Commissioner and Masood to promote relations with Sri Lanka. I hope our missions abroad will follow it. Masood has gained vast experience promoting sports in Pakistan Customs as well as in the private sector of Pakistan. Pakistan High Commission should avail his services for such occasions.

On the 19th evening, Pakistan and Sri Lanka’s peoples’ long awaited moment came to an end at 2.30 pm at Premadasa Stadium when the Australian and Pakistan teams from Group A were there for a contest. It was an unbelievable crowd at the stadium when I went there to see the match at 1 pm. All roads leading to the stadium were fully crowded. The police and guides were very humble and co-operative to help visitors and the crowd going for the match.

The stadium was very well decorated with Pakistani and Sri Lankan flags; security measures were on high alert as a huge crowd was expected. I must mention the role of overseas Pakistanis who turned up from all over the world in a large scale to support the Pakistan cricket team in Colombo.
The match between Pakistan and Australia started in a very tense condition as Pakistan lost the toss and Australia elected to bat. To bat first, Ricky Ponting’s decision proved wrong. Shahid Afridi must be happy that his plan to trap the Australian team brought expected results and they were out for 176. All the team members played their role and they seemed to be at their peak. All the chances were availed which put the team on the road of victory. It was their day. They could have beaten any team on that day. Behaviour of the wicket was okay but I felt it would be a test of Pakistani player’s patience. You only needed to stay at the wicket and the runs would come.

The Pakistan wickets that fell were due to the mistakes of our batsmen. They have no reason to blame the Australian bowlers. Lee did not disappoint his captain by his performance but it was Pakistan’s day. The departure of two Pakistani batsmen in a row created silence and panic in the Pakistani camp and supporters but thanks to Umar Akmal and Abdul Razzaq came to the rescue. Both teams displayed their skill and experience. Younus Khan utilised his experience and young Asad Shafiq proved his worth. He will be an asset for Pakistan for a long period. I am happy that tour selection committee had taken a right and bold decision to include Shafiq.
I believe that the present team of Pakistan which defeated Australia is the best ever. Congratulations to Shahid Afridi and his team, Mohsin Khan and his selectors for the victory. A question arose in the mind of sports lovers on the batting order of Abdul Razzaq who bats after Shahid Afridi at number 8. Abdul Razzaq is a great all-rounder whom any captain can trust. He has always proved his worth and played according to the demanding conditions. His technique and patience has always been the source of his success.

The support of the Sri Lankan crowd given to the Pakistan cricket team cannot be ignored at any cost which reminded me the day of 1996 when Sri Lanka was playing against Australia in the final of the World Cup at Lahore. Salute to the people of Sri Lanka for their support to encourage the Pakistan team. No one can say whether it was a Pakistan or Sri Lankan crowd; or the match was being played in Pakistan or Sri Lanka. No doubt the Sri Lankan crowd was one of the most disciplined I have ever seen in my life. This is one of the reasons for Pakistan’s win.
After the match, the roads were full of overseas Pakistanis dancing wearing green shirts mingling with the Sri Lankan crowd. It was a scene worth seeing and with joy I could not control my tears and feelings. “Pak-Lanka friendship Zindabad”.

Fourteen matches have been played at different cities of Sri Lanka and no mishap has been reported. Suraj Dandeniya, Tournament Director of the 2011 World Cup and Sri Lanka Cricket must be honored for hosting the matches without any incident. His efforts must be recognised by the ICC.
During the match between Pakistan and Australia which was played in a friendly way a tiny incident took place regarding Ricky Ponting who is my favorite player and one I have a great respect for. Being a great player, he should have left the wicket when he knew that he was caught behind. Under the law of appeal to review the decision, the umpire had to refer to the third umpire in the best interest of the game which brought a positive result and Ponting had to leave the wicket. Great players never wait for the umpire’s decision. I remember one of the great players of Pakistan (former captain Majid Khan) who used to leave the wicket without looking at the umpire as I believe that batsmen are the best judges and that is why cricket is called gentleman’s game.
My personal suggestion to the Pakistan Cricket Board is that they should organise their Test/ODI/T20 cricket matches in Sri Lanka instead of UAE. The climate and playing conditions are better than the UAE. The stadiums in Sri Lanka are of top standard and it would be more economical than the UAE. Pakistani cricketers are very famous in this country. The Sri Lankan crowd is very friendly and would support Pakistan. The large scale of support from the local crowd can be helpful to make the event successful if the matches are arranged in Sri Lanka.
* M. Salimullah is Director Administrative, Pakistan Customs SC and Complex, Karachi, Pakistan


Bultjens wins the most valuable player award

By V. Harischandra
Roshan Bultjens won the most valuable player of the year award at the annual awards ceremony of the 14th anniversary celebration of the RSA Cricket School Kurunegala that was held at the Seasons Hotel Kurunegala.
The Minister of Indigenous Medicine and President Kurunegala District Cricket Association Salinda Dissanayake was the chief guest on this occasion.
RSA Cricket School was formed by three leading Kurunegala cricketers Ranjith Madurasinghe, Ajith Ekanayake and Sudharshana Guruge in 1996. Over 200 boys of the age groups from 9-16 are being coached in this Cricket School during the weekends.
TNK de Silva and Upali Senaratne are the present coaches of the school. They were assisted by Sanjeeva Prasad, Senadeera Bandara, Randeniya and Prince Chaminda.
Special awards and certificates were distributed to the players taking part last season and also those who went on the Malayasian tour and played in the MCA under 13 tournament.
The Award Winners:
Malaysian Tour - Best Batsman Nuwashan Adikari, Best Bowler: Shashika Atapattu, Best Fielder: Roshan Mithuna, Player of the tour: Ricas Mohammad.
MCA under 13 Tournament - Best Batsman: Tepul Bhashtha, Best Bowler: Vishwa Sandaruwan, Best Fielder: Wageesh Wewunaka, Player of the tournament: Sudaraka Ranjan, The Best Up and Coming Cricketer of the Year: Sajith Ishara Kavinda, Lionel K. Patabendi Challenge Trophy for Most Valuable Player of the Year: Roshan Buultjens.


Kandy’s dearth of playgrounds

By Hafiz Marikar
All sports are extremely popular in Kandy and today there is a crying need for more and more playing fields. The Kandy Municipal Council Sports is under the watch full eyes of a sports committee, which gives sports a big hand, through the Playgrounds and Community Centre Department and also provides sports gear for all sports, Kandy can be proud in this where Kandy Municipal Council gives the poor sportsmen and women the backing, and it has the proud record of having produced some of the top sportsmen in the field of football, cricket, hockey athletics, table tennis, volleyball, rugby, netball and iron sports.

Kandy Municipal Council maintains their pint size grounds very well with competent park masters who do a splendid job. Sportsmen and women from poor families use these grounds to play games.
After the takeover of the Bogambara Stadium by the Ministry of Sports they handed it over to the Sugathadasa Stadium authorities, who have messed up most of the sports in Kandy specially football, hockey and athletics, where they have to pay big sums to use the grounds, even athletes who go for a run have to pay. When it was under the Municipal Council it was very affordable to use the grounds at a nominal rate, today the charge is sky high and sportsmen are finding it difficult to play their loved sport.

The present Sports Minister, Mahindananda Aluthgamage is from Kandy District, he should come forward and give a helping hand to the sportsmen and women. The best thing to do is to hand the grounds back to the Municipal Council, which is their property; in return the sportsmen and women will be benefited.


Mercantile ‘F’ division league underway

Thirty-two teams in four groups will play 119 matches in the second D. Samson & Sons Ltd., sponsored Avi Trophy at the MCA Centenary Year 2011 ‘F’ division 30 overs league tournament which got underway on Saturday 26.

The groupings: Group ‘A’ - Aitken Spence, Ceylon Tobacco Co., Emerchemi NB, Singer ‘B’, Eagle Logistic, MAS Active ‘B’, Jetwing Travels and Dialog ‘B’.
Group ‘B’ - Citi Bank NA, Commercial Leasing Co., Hilton Colombo, Textured Jersey, DFCC Bank, Bodyline, SL Telecom ‘C’ and Loadstar ‘A’.

Group ‘C’ - DPMC ‘B’, Regnis Lanka, HSBC ‘B’, Hilton Colombo Residence, The Finance Co., Uni Lever, E-Wis and Ceylon Agro (Prima).
Group ‘D’ - Data Entry International, Finlays, Std. Chartered, LOLC, Galadari Hotel, Commercial Credit, Pizza Hut and John Keells ‘C’.

Out of the 32 teams, seven teams namely: Eagle Logistics, MAS Active ‘B’, SL Telecom ‘C’, The Finance Co., Ceylon Agro (Prima), Commercial Credit and Pizza Hut will be making their debut in Mercantile cricket.
The League stage of the tournament will go on till May 22 and the two top teams of each group will advance to the quarterfinals on May 28 and 29 and the semi-finals on June 4. The final is scheduled for June 11 at the MCA grounds.

The official sponsorship presentation took place at the MCA last week where General Manager, Marketing, D. Samson & Sons Ltd., Rohan Somawansa handed over the cheque to president MCA Mahesh Wijewardene.
Also present were Category Managers/Avi-DSI Rasika Pradeep and Hirangi Bulathsinghala, Marketing Services Manager/DSI Aruna Senanayake, Roshan Iddamalgoda, General Secretary, Niran Mahawatte, Vice President and Wasanthalal Fernando, Chairman, Tournament Committee (all from MCA). – [LW]


Blue Jets win at seven-a-side football
Blue Jets SC won the TRR Rajan Memorial Trophy in the annual invitation seven-a -side football tournament, by beating Sunny Mount SC played at the Gomez Playgrounds.
This annual tournament played in memory of TRR Rajan, a great lover of sports and a man who has given his best for the promotion of sports over here in Kandy. He was a sportsman, sports benefactor, philanthropist and above all a gentleman.
It was an interesting day of football when some top footballers who are involved with the municipal playgrounds were seen in action and they dished out some exciting football which was enjoyed by every one who was at this tournament. It was organsied by the Katugastota Road Community Centre. (Mariks)


Royal under-19 TT champs

The Royal College Table Tennis team recorded a fine win over Maliyadeva College Kurunegala defeating them 3-2 to bag the under-19 A division championship at the All Island Inter-School TT Tournament at the S. Thomas’ Sports complex. The competition was conducted by the Schools Table Tennis Association.


Sensei Gamini Soysa teaches Okinawan karate

Sensei Gamini Soysa, who is the first Sri Lankan to teach Okinawan and Kobudo (art of weapons) professionally in Sri Lanka and India, has been dubbed with the distinguished title, “The Father of Okinawan Shorinryu karate and Kobudo.”
He has also taught over 40,000 students in Sri Lanka and India since he established dojos in 1976. He had a very successful traditional Okinawan Kobudo camp and seminar at Chennai India recently.
Over 100 participants from all different ryus had participated in the event. G.K. Vasan, Central minister for shipping and transport was the Chief Guest.